Tower block lockdown ‘hard on kids’ mental health’

Tower block lockdown 'hard on kids' mental health'

Pierre Storey's children Ellis, Theo, Maisie and JackImage copyright
Pierre Storey

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Pierre Storey says his children’s mental health have suffered

A family living in a tower block have said they fear their children’s mental health will suffer during lockdown.

Pierre Storey, who lives in the 18-storey Mellish Court in Milton Keynes, said his children were confused and struggling without outdoor space.

He said he was also terrified they would catch the virus when going outside because it was “impossible” to social distance in the building.

Milton Keynes Council said it was checking on tenants welfare.

Mr Storey and his partner Jade Durrant, both 29, live in the two bedroom council flat with their four children, Ellis, 7, Theo, 4, Maisie, 2, and one-year-old Jack.

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Mellish Court in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, had its balconies locked after concrete fell from them

“As the days pass it’s becoming much more of a struggle,” Mr Storey said.

“The children are stressed and instead of playing they are taking their frustration out on each other, constantly squabbling, which adds to the stress.”

The three youngest children did not understand why they could not play outside and the uncertainty surrounding the length of lockdown has been challenging, said Mr Storey, who was made unemployed when the lockdown started.

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Pierre Storey

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Pierre Storey and Jade Durrant are worried about the impact of lockdown on their children

“They’re genuinely stuck inside a small room with nothing but the TV and some toys to play with,” said Mr Storey.

“We feel as if we’re in a prison.”

He said his children were finding lockdown especially tough because they could not access their seventh floor balcony because all the building’s balconies were locked amid safety concerns last year.

“As a family we’re not doing so well… I think they think they’re being punished somehow. It’s so sad,” he said.

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Pierre Storey

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The children have struggled being “stuck in a small room”, Mr Storey said

The family has been trying to go out at least once a day, in line with government advice, but Mr Storey said the situation was “a nightmare”.

Both parents have become terrified their children may catch the virus in small, cramped communal spaces such as the lift, staircases and hallways where they said it could be impossible to social distance.

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Pierre Storey

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Mr Storey says it is “impossible” to social distance when moving in and out of the building

“The thought of my kids catching anything in between leaving and coming back into the property via the communal areas is very frustrating,” Mr Storey said.

A spokesman for Milton Keynes Council said: “We are in the process of contacting council tenants to check they are OK and their property is safe.”

The council has been contacting vulnerable residents first and would be investigating and addressing the balcony concerns after lockdown restrictions were lifted, it said.

It said it had recommended tenants followed social distancing guidelines.

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